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September 23, 2019

Our Living Room | House Tour for Fall

When we moved back in our house after the addition and renovation (details here), this room of our house, the front more formal living room, remained mostly the same as it was.  We kept the same furniture we had had since our first home, almost ten years ago.  That furniture had moved with us from our first house, to Concord, Mass, back to Kansas City again.  We lived on that furniture for those first 5 years, since it was the only place to sit in our home before the addition.  We had meals on it, watched tv, there were still spilled chocolate milk stains on it from when Emma was little... and then there was Mr. Darcy.  Mr. had claimed the chair in front of the window as his own.  We called it the Mr. Darcy Dirtball Chair.  It was dirty.  It had a hole worn in the arm from where he perches on it all day and barks at passersby.  It was also the first thing people saw when they came in our home - the Dirtball Chair.  Lovely.  

After 10 years, both the sofa and the dirtball chair needed to move on.  I loved the scale of the old sofa, so I wanted to make sure to mimic that - but I also wanted it to feel elegant since this is our more formal room.  Comfort was very high on the list, too.  We like this to be a room that we really relax in - no TV, but reading books and magazines and drinking coffee/tea in front of the fire.  This is the only woodturning fireplace in our home, so we sort of center the room around that use.  We have picnic dinners in here on special occasions, we play board games on the floor and we put our feet up here on chilly Saturday mornings - all in front of the fire.  And, of course this is where the Christmas Tree will be in a couple of months.  My point is, it is an elegant room, but I really wanted us to use the room, so it must be very comfortable.

I've shared all of the links and resources throughout this post, but they'll also be listed at the end.  Let me know if I've forgotten something, as I'm sure I will. 

Paint : Benjamin Moore Carringon Beige

This room is painted Benjamin Moore Carrington Beige - the Walls in Flat and the Trim in Satin.  I love tone-on-tone painted walls and woodwork, this room is a great example of how subtly sophisticated it can look.  It is the perfect warm neutral.  It isn't white, it isn't cream, it isn't beige, it isn't grey.  It is just warm.

Wool Rug

We have had this wool rug since we moved into the house pre-renovation 7 years ago.  We love it.  It is huge (11x13, I think?), 100% wool and beautiful muted neutral colors.  I love that there is actually some color in the rug, but it isn't distracting or too bold - very pretty natural rusts, slate and beige with a sandy linen background.  I'm considering getting the runner for our upstairs hallway, too.

Price : The bonus of this rug is that is very inexpensive!  This large one is around $700-900.  It is still available here, Our Wool Rug.

Purchasing a new sofa was the biggest change of the room.  Our old one was huge and it really suit the scale of this room.  I wanted a big, deep sofa that would be great for reading, naps and handle a big group for family gatherings.  I love the rolled arms, I love the slipcovered look that dresses this room down just a touch and I love the bench seat.  

Specs : Grand Scale 91" Sofa with Bench Seat with a Camel Velvet Slipcover

People often ask me about what size pillows I use and how I arrange them.  This is my basic formula for this large sofa: 

I buy all of the inserts at Ikea.  They fit my pillow covers perfectly - in fact we design them around these sizes so they are a perfect fit. 

I change the covers out every season with Pillow Covers from my store.  Here is a photo from last season to show how just swapping out the pillows can really transform the look and feel of the entire room.

Velvet Sofa : Camel Velvet Bench Sofa

I really wanted a pair of pretty, shapely chairs for the front window.  My plan is to put a game table between them so we have a comfy place to sit and play games in front of the fire  on cold winter nights.  Right now, I have them without a slipcover, just the natural creamy muslin that comes upholstered on them.  

I love the graphic Gold Dahlia Pillow Covers.  This is a Medium Pillow, which is the perfect accent size.  They were great on dining tables or mudroom benches, too - just just for upholstered furniture. 

In the background of this photo, you'll see my Rustic Garden Pots, which have been recently restocked.  I've potted them with topiary... that I'm still trying to keep alive.

This chest was a Christmas gift from Mike a couple of years ago.  I had picked it out and put it on my wish list for a while before he surprised me with it.  In it, we keep all of our Christmas specials - ornaments, keepsakes, Christmas cards, nativity scenes.   It is essentially our Christmas Chest.  I love that our very special things don't live in a plastic (maybe wet?!) bin in the basement.  Also limiting our collection of special Christmas things to what fits in this chest keeps me from buying too much each year - just a couple of very special things to add.

Now, in this photo you'll see how this Antique Chest evolves each season, too.  I try to keep something alive or growing in this spot.  It is sort of my seasonal showpiece.  Just updating this are every couple of weeks makes our home feel fresh.  I won't use the word "vignette" (insert eye roll) ... but if there was one of those in our house, it would be here : )

Basket Tray : Rattan Basket Tray Set 

Pillows : Harvest Flower

This corner by the fireplace is sort of the forgotten corner.  It has a new chair, so I'm working on spiffing it up a little.  This classic wing has a windowpane slip that I love.  I am working with Tessa to help me reconfigure the space with a new lamp, footstool and some prints.  I'll keep you posted. 

We keep fire kindling in this antique crock, a gift from my Mother-in-Law.  Right now it is newspapers, later in the season it will be pinecones and sticks we gather on walks.

To the right of the sofa is another forgotten corner that you don't get to see very often.  I found this lovely antique writing table with barely twist legs at a local antique store.  We keep our extra dining chairs in here and pull them in when we need them.

This table usually collects invitations, thank you notes, special gifts and little treasures.  I love the collection of frames I keep here, too.  I think family photos work best in tabletop frames vs. on the wall, and this is my little area where I can keep favorites and update each season. 


Resources : 

Rug : Wool Rug (also comes in a runner I love Wool Rug Runner)
Paint : Benjamin Moore Carringon Beige
Rug : Wool Rug (also comes in a runner I love Wool Rug Runner)
Velvet Sofa : Camel Velvet Bench Sofa
Basket : Log Basket
Pillows : Harvest Flower
Pillow Inserts : Down Pillow Inserts

September 16, 2019

My Kitchen This Fall | My Baking List

Fall baking is quintessential.  Even my friends that don't bake too often start asking me about baking recipes to try.  I've been feeling overwhelmed a bit by what I want to do in the kitchen - I have so many things I'd like to bake.  I have a list of old favorites that I know I want to taste again this season, and then some new ones that I want to try.  I find that I'm flailing a bit when I have free time to bake because there are too many things on my list.  To help me weed through what's worth repeating and what's worth trying, I put together this little post... and to inspire you, as well.  Sorry if you've seen some of these listed multiple times in previous posts or instagram shares...  sometimes I'm just trying to remind myself ; )

On My "To-Try" List :

I like to keep a running list of recipes to try, too.  I'd love to hear your favorites and what is on your 'to try' list, too.

Rustic Apple Crostada (Barefoot Contessa)

PB & Chocolate Cupcakes (Barefoot Contessa)

Salted Caramel Cake

Molasses Cake with Ginger Mascarpone  (Barefoot Contessa)

Pecan Rolls (again... I have an old post)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Panacotta
Caramel Corn (

Take a complete tour of our kitchen, here >

Crabapple Branches in my Recycled Glass Vases (only a couple of these left) with a big bowl of apples underneath.  I recently found the big bowl at a local antique store - set of two graduated for about $18 each.  I had only seen stone bowls like this for $80+ each in the past, so I was so glad to snatch these up.  My mom has several, too.  So many ways to use them - salad, lined with a napkin for rolls, will keep mashed potatoes warm... and pretty just on the counter, too.

Probably the most worth repeating, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.  I made these probably 4 times last fall and am counting down the day that I have another excuse to make them again... so I can have that soft frosting and spicy cake again.  Ok, probably making them today.

Tessa shared her favorite cider donuts and packaged them up using my favorite striped ribbon and cello bags, available here.

Would love to hear what recipes you repeat each Autumn... not that I need to add more to my list ; )

September 13, 2019

Pumpkin Bread | My Everyday Breakfast this Fall

I shared this recipe a couple of years ago, but this year I've updated the photos with some pretty packaging.  I gave this loaf as a gift, wrapped in a cello bag and included a tea towel folded underneath.  

I created all of these gifts from essentials in my Fall Collection.  I especially love the colorful cotton twill tape used as ribbon.  It really has that old fashioned feel that I love for baked goods.

Top to Botton : Rust, Grey & Dust

This brown and cream striped ribbon is another favorite of mine for Fall.  I used it here to wrap a Kraft box filled with Apple Spice Scones.

I've been making Pumpkin Bread all season long.  Like a crazy person.  Seriously, about once a week.  It is so delicious with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.  I'm not a big breakfast person, but this is everything I want in the morning.  I warm it up with a little butter spread on top and enjoy it with my coffee on the back porch.  I've been packing it with nutritional value by making it with lots of walnuts, pecans, pumpkin (obviously) and going a little light on the sugar.  I've even made it with gluten free flour... my first experiment.  I have to say, the bread is so rich and dense, and full of flavor that the flour texture is easily overlooked.  

My Everyday
Pumpkin Bread

3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of flour (gluten free, spelt or regular)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of nuts (walnut and/or pecans)

*In the photos above, I baked the loaf to give as a gift using my Baking Baskets that have liners included - you bake right in the liner and basket.  I use the method outlined below for our "everyday" loaves.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, preheat oven to 350.
In a mixer or a bowl by hand, mix together eggs, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin.  Next add the butter and mix until combined.  Stir in the flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nuts.  Stir until just combined.  Pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Test with cake tester.

Stock up on my favorite loaf pans, parchment paper and other baking supplies, here >

September 12, 2019

Sausage, Tortellini & Spinach Soup

This is my new favorite easy family dinner.  The sausage is spicy, the frozen cheese tortellini gives that deep aged cheesy saltiness, the spinach, carrots, cabbage and chicken stock make it nutritious.  We all licked our bowls and fought for leftovers the next day - Emma even opted to take it in her school lunch.  

It came together in about 20 minutes start to finish, so it is the perfect option to throw together on the nights when you're stopping by the store on your way home and still want to have dinner ready at a reasonable time.  I came across the original recipe on Gimmesomeoven but made a couple of customizations.  Mike isn't an Italian sausage fan (the fennel seeds...), so I swapped the Italian sausage links for bratwursts (which are sausage without the seasonings).  I added my own Italian dried seasonings in to add back the spicy flavor.  I can't get over how delicious this was. 

After a very lazy summer in the kitchen, we've been making an effort to get back to family dinners during the week.  While the weather is still catching up and cooling down, this has already been in our rotation.  

I put some in the freezer in soup to-go containers to get out for my lunches at home - which is usually my downfall.  Like a typical mom, I prepare lunches for everyone else in the morning and usually create my own lunch out of scraps of nothing like slices of cheese and an apple. So, this past month I've been sneaking a couple of single servings (in these To-Go Containers) into the freezer for myself to get out during busy days.

Sausage & Tortellini Soup

4 bratwursts
2 teaspoons of dry Italian seasoning
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 onion, small dice
6 carrots, small dice
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of flour
6 cups of chicken stock
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
4 cups of spinach
1/2 bag of frozen cheese tortellini
1/4 cup of cream
Sea Salt (to taste)

Remove brats from casings and brown in a large pot, breaking with the spoon as it cooks.  Add onion, carrots and mushrooms and continue to cook.   Add the dry seasoning and flour and stir in to soak up all of the fat from the sausage.  Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the flour is mixed in.  Add chicken stock and stir until the chicken stock loosens the flour to thicken.

Simmer for about 5 minutes on medium low until bubbling.

Add cabbage, spinach (stems removed) and tortellini.

Add cream and season with salt to taste.  Let cook for about 5-10 more minutes on low until the tortilla is warmed through.

Shop Green Dahlia Block Print Napkins, here > 

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